Are urban women empowered in Pakistan? A study from a metropolitan city

Elsevier, Women's Studies International Forum, Volume 82, 2020
Sajid Hussain and Shafiq Jullandhry

This study investigated the empowerment status of urban women in Pakistan using a multidimensional approach in Lahore – a metropolitan city. Analysis of survey data of 260 women revealed that around two-thirds of women were not empowered. Three dimensions of women's empowerment (WE) – control over resources, mobility and participation in household decision making are relatively weak. A significant proportion of women (49%) did not have control over spending of family savings. A majority of them (70-85%) neither had ownership rights of fixed property (i.e. land and house) nor control over its sale. Around 80% and 55% of women had constrained mobility respectively to financial institutions, and friends (out of city). Moreover, a majority of them did not have participation in household decisions on investment of family savings and purchase of fixed property (i.e. land and house), and availing of financial services. Study also revealed that single women are less empowered compared to married women. Likewise, women with salaried employment were also less empowered than non-working women. Based on findings, the study suggested some key recommendations on women's property rights, improving their role in household decision making, ensuring women friendly workplace environment, and public awareness campaigns through media and academic curricula. It is also highlights that WE is not only key to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – 5, but can also contribute to achieve several other SDGs.